Place 72 – Day 114: Vancouver, BC – Bake Off’s Back!

Curtis’ Day

Curtis arrived at work and had some admin to do, as usual and then he finished setting up an old mac.

After that, Curtis replaced someone’s laptop and ensured that all worked for them.

Curtis then did a few tickets up until lunch time.

Post lunch, Curtis ststted setting up a new laptop, which took most of the afternoon, and then he had a brief 1 on 1 with the HR team about his first 3 months at the company.

Curtis finished the day with a bit of project work, as well as a bit of security work.

A fairly slow day but varied non the less.

Kim’s Day & Evening

As there was a new hire starting today, who came all the way from the UK office, Kim ensured that she was in a little early as he was due to arrive at 9ish. It 9.10 he is introduced to Kim be her colleague as he arrived before Kim and had done the tour already! Kim was also greeted this morning by an email from the close by hotel to say they have rooms available and the price was much lower than any competitor! What a great way to start a day!

Kim used her new extra time to catch up on emails, that she had neglected yesterday! She approved items, saved invoices and whizzed through!

To be prepared for the meeting taking place later in the day Kim went and stole all the best mugs and cups to ensure they would be nice, clean and easily available later in the day. She also hid 2 of the water jugs and our the frozen cut up lemon in one to allow it to thaw and infuse the water! She also put a load of soft drinks on a tray ready for later too!

Kim then went back to the hotel / meeting room booking she has been working on and organised with the building to have the 25th floor for 2 of the days and then organised internally to free up the boardroom on their floor for the 3rd and final day.

Before Kim started the boardroom preperations Kim collected and gift wrapped some company swag for the external visitors. She didn’t go full Love Actually gift wrapping but the thought was there!

As it was suddenly midday Kim started preparing the meeting room by making sure all the chairs were the same and at the same height and perfectly placed around the table. She then set the glasses and water jugs up before helping giving the windows a quick clean. Kims colleague then ran out to grab some snackables for the meeting so Kim set up the drinks she set aside from earlier and made a start on a coffee urn. When her colleague came back Kim plated the biscuits and set everything up.

Just as they were putting the napkins in the boardroom the external visitors arrived so Kim contacted the meeting organiser while her colleague made a coffee.

After the meeting was underway Kim took some time to have lunch and take a breather. She had a lovely catch up with a few colleagues and it was lovely.

After lunch Kim spent some of her afternoon organising meeting invites for the new hire meet and eats coming up. Then she spent her time catching up on more emails and reorganising meeting rooms.

Kim ended up sticking around later today to make sure that the meeting didn’t need anything else. While she was waiting, she stole a bookcase from a meetingroom and is keeping it at reception for storage!

Kim was then asked to call cabs for the meeting to head out to dinner. After the meeting left Kim then sorted and cleaned out the room!

Then she headed home, got changed and went directly to her class.

Then she headed home, got changed and went directly to her class. Today’s class was lyrical so they spent some time at the beginning learning 2 moves and then they were incorporated into a routine. It was so much fun!

Kim then was heading home and popped to the supermarket to pick something up and realised that she did not have her purse. Luckily Curtis was home so bought it to her and then they did the mini shop together

The Remainder of Our Evening

Curtis didn’t really do anything whilst Kim was out. He did a few things around the apartment, but mostly just played some games and relaxed.

Once Kim got home after going to the supermarket, we were both very hungry! Luckily, Curtis had done most of the salad and Kim just added the fresh roasted chicken from the supermarket and some caesar sauce and hey presto a simple yet delicious caesar salad.

We finished up by watching the first episode of the new Great British Bake Off and then went to bed at a reasonable time.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

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Place 84 – Day 5: New Orleans,LA – Longue Vue House & Gardens

Printing Attempt #1

After getting up and having breakfast, we had a goal which was to get oir visa information printed so we are able to work in our next location.

We got to the library, which is just a block up from our house, but their printer was under maintenance so we couldn’t print then, but they said it would be available later in the day.

With that, we went back home and did some washing.

Coffee

To waste more time before trying to print again, and for our laundry to complete, we walked for 25 minutes to get a coffee.

We found a place that our Airbnb host had recommended called Bearcat Cafe.

This place was very busy and loud. Curtis ordered a cappucino which was terrific. A little small but more than strong enough.

Kim had an iced mocha that, to start with, tasted only like milk, so she got more chocolate added, which then made it too strong of a chocolate flavour.


Bearcat cafe | New Orleans,LA

Rating:- 6.5/10


Printing Attempt #2

We walked past the library on the way back and the printers were still out of action, so we went right home and got ready to go out.

We caught a bus in a different direction to usual.

Longue Vue House & Gardens

We got off the bus after 10 minutes or so and walked for 20 minutes to get to Longue Vue.

Long view is a large estate which has a beautiful gardens with a stunning house.

Due to the time we arrived, we had 45 minutes to see the gardens and then a guided house tour after.

It was starting to rain a little, but we still walked around, pleased with the beautiful gardens and even the golf course in the back of the house!

After we saw the gardens, we ended up bumping into the facilities manager of the house who we had a chat with before the tour. Our tour guide then came over also and we began our tour.

The tour started with some information about who owned the house and why it was there. We won’t spoil too much, but a couple had the house and then decided that they wanted to change the house. Instead of destroying it, they moved the house down the street and built one in its place. This happened around 1942.

The New House

The house was based on English houses they had seen and it is tremendous inside!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any photos inside, but we do have some facts.

This house was only the 2nd in the US to get air conditioning, just after the while house!

The house, being built in 1942, is very rare in that as it was during the war time, not many houses were built then.

Everything in the house is original and it is amazing. There are wide hallways and many domed and curved rooms.

Many famous and important people of the time visited the house, such as the president at the time’s wife (Elenor Roosevelt).

We were told about the family history also. The wife’s father owned Sears department store and also did a lot of charitable things, such as funding the building of over 5000 African American schools! The eldest some created the first TV channel in the south of the US also.


Longue Vue House & Gardens | New Orleans,LA

Rating:- 10/10


This tour was incredibly informative and our guide was wonderful. She was knowledgable but also very kind and was interested in us and our travels. She took us through to the playhouse which wasn’t used for plays but was used for parties and gatherings. This was a beautiful room and this is also where our tour ended, after we had some more conversation.

We began our walk back to the bus stop when a car pulled up and it was our guide, offering to give us a lift to the bus stop! This was incredibly kind of her and we jumped in and were dropped off at the bus stop.

The bus arrived shortly after and we made our way home.

Printing Success

We finally got to print our documents, which ended up taking about an hour to do and that is one less thing to worry about.

We the looked for somewhere to eat and got a bus into the French Quarter.

Dinner

We found a place which we had seen a few times but never gone in called Pierre Masperos. An interesting fact about this place is that it used to be a slave trading building, where slaves would be sold. Not exactly a nice thing, but an interesting fact non the less.


Pierre Masperos | New Orleans,LA

Rating:- 9/10


Our server was fantastic and very attentive. She recommended things and suggested things that were spot on!

Kim had chicken and waffles, which you’re meant to have in New Orleans. This had a honey and tobasco sauce which was odd, but the server suggested just maple syrup which was much better.

Curtis had crab cakes which were amazing! Again, our server brought us another sauce to try with it as she prefers that. Both sauces were great, as were the crab cakes.

Dessert

We saw a place just down the road which looked fancy but when going in it had cheap prices! Kim got a ‘brownie sundae’ which was actually just a big brownie with ice cream on. The guy making it had a great time!

Heading Home

We took some of the brownie with us and got a tram back to our bus stop.

We thought the bus was going to take 30 minutes, but the previous bus must have been late so we got on that one which was only a 5 minute wait.

We got home in record time and relaxed with some TV. We had another 8/9 hour day today, and tomorrow won’t be any less!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 84 – Day 4: New Orleans,LA – Pharmacy Museum, Gumbo & Food Trucks

Pharmacy Museum

We decided on visiting the pharmacy museum today. We heard someone mention it the voodoo museum the other day that they’d been to the pharmacy museum, so we thought we would have a look.

We got the bus to the city and then walked from there. It was warmer today, but there was a breeze which helped.

We got to the museum and when we walked in, we were instantly struck with the smell of ‘old stuff’.

We later found out that the building was occupied from the 1700s by a pharmacist and then later was taken over by another pharmacist, before it was not used for a while and then bought and restored by the local council.

There was two floors of artifacts, namely tools and medicines which were used in the 19th century.

Something interesting was that all the liquids or solids within the bottles and jars are the actual substances that they say they are. This is particularly harrowing when the majority are alcohol or narcotics based, including opium and heroine! Some are even poisons.

We toured around by ourselves for a bit and then had a guided tour by the curator for around 45 minutes.

During this time, he explained about the history, what was used, why, side effects and all kinds of gross things, but also incredibly informative and interesting.

An old soda machine, used to make medicine taste better. This is why we have soda today!


Pharmacy Museum | New Orleans,LA

Rating:- 10/10


Towards the end of the tour, Curtis got incredibly warm and ended up fainting, which was dramatic for everyone around us! He was all ok though, Kim managed to catch him and he wasn’t any worse for ware. All part of the fun and games!

Cafe Beignet, Again!

We wanted a coffee and a bit of food, so we went to Cafe Beignet again, but a different one. This one was much older and had a great look about it. There was also a man singing there, which helped with the ambience.

We shared some Gumbo, which is traditional soup made with chicken, rice and sausage…absolutely delicious!

Curtis had a key lime pie and we got some coffee too.

It doesn’t look great, but tastes amazing!

Admin Time

We headed home after here, once we had a short walk around. It was too hot and we didn’t really fancy doing anything more.

We got back home in record time, catching the transport perfectly! It took us just 15 minutes or so.

We got back and both had some admin to complete, so it was good to get that done.

We ate the remainder of yesterday’s pasta and were still hungry.

Luckily, we’d been told by our host about a few food trucks which were congregating by the library, just a block away.

Food Trucks

We got to the food trucks and there were just a couple there, so nothing much to choose from.

We each got a crepe in the end. Curtis got a cinnamon one and Kim got a cookie butter one. They were actually great and from the crepe truck called Crépes á la cart

After this, we came home, chilled out and also planned what we will be doing tomorrow.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 77 – Day 6: Las Vegas,NV – Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon

Chatting With Norwegians

We woke up this morning and had a call from Espen & Marcus, so we had a chat with them for a bit.We got ready and had breakfast after speaking with them and then were ready to go.

Hoover Dam

First on the agenda was the Hoover Dam. We drove for 1 hour from our apartment to get there and it was a pretty simple drive.We got to the dam and had to pay $10 for parking. We parked up and headed down to the dam.The sheer size of the dam is astonishing! We didn’t pay for any tours but we did walk around it a bit and got some cool photos which we think show the depth.

We walked around here for a bit and then stopped for an ice cream in the cafe, which was perfect for such a hot day!Weirdly, the Hoover Dam is in Arizona, but only just, so much so that when we left, we had to drive out of Arizona, into Nevada and then back into Arizona.

The Grand Canyon

We weren’t too sure what to expect, but we drove for 1.5 hours from the hoover dam to get to the Grand Canyon (west).We didn’t know that it was a tour in which we had to pay and then take busses buses everywhere, but it worked out well.The first place we went was where the observation deck was, but it didn’t look great, so we didn’t pay for that. We did get some cool photos of the Grand Canyon though.

Behind us from this area was a native American village, which we got to walk around which showed all the different types of buildings used.

We got back on the bus after this and went to the next section, which gave us a 360° view within the Grand Canyon, which was awesome!

We even saw the old cable car system they used to move materials whilst mining.

We left this area and got on the bus to get to the final place, which was a ranch.Unfortunately, by the time we got there, everything was closed, but it looked like an old wild west town.

Kim tried to lasso a fake bull and managed to do it when she wasn’t being filmed!

We went and saw the horses and then tried to do some horseshoe throwing, which Kim perfected on the first throw!

We left here and went back to the main area where we collected our car and drove back towards Vegas, with a stop in IKEA!

We got some Swedish meatballs, of course, and looked around the shop.

We got back home, much earlier than we have been, and ate some ice cream whilst watching TV.

We have to give the car back tomorrow!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 74 – Day 4: San Francisco,CA – Alcatraz & Cable Car

Alcatraz

We took the tram to the city this morning and then had to take another tram to get down to where we needed to be.

We got there at exactly the time we needed to be and then had to stand in line for a while.

We eventually started to board the boat to Alcatraz Island (which means Pelican, by the way!).

The Arrival

We arrived at the island fairly quickly and there were a lot of people!

We first had to stop at the entrance and get a brief talk from a park ranger as Alcatraz is a national park.

The first building itself is quite daunting as thst isn’t even the prison! There is a cool sign at the entrance, too;

Theatre

We made our way up to the theatre and got a seat whilst waiting for the introductory film to play.

The film was about 15 minutes long and just explained the history of Alcatraz.

Workshop

We moved on from here to one of the workshops which was only open for a brief time today.

Along the way, we saw the power station, remains of the officer recreation hall and the former firing range.

The Power Station

Recreation Hall For Officers

We entered the workshop and it was pretty damaged. Most glass was smashed and there were sinks and toilets leftover, as well a sign, for some reason!

There was an art exhibition in another room in here, but it was pretty unrelated to the workshop.

This is the place in which prisoners would work, making things, sometimes for the military but also worked in the laundry area.

There were some incredible views from this island, especially with the weather we had for the start of the day!

The Prison

We walked up to the prison, getting some awesome photos on the way.

The Cell Block

The First Lighthouse In Western America

We got to the start of the audio tour, which was in the shower block of the prison, where there was also clothes from the prison times.

We went from here up some stairs and into the main prison block.

The audio guide told us multiple stories and information about different cells and locations around the prison, including solitary confinement, attempted escapes, living conditions and more.

A Prison Cell Which Someone Escaped From

Solitary Confinement

A Solitary Confinement Cell – Nicer, But The Prisoner Spends 24/7 Here

The Main Hallway

We moved through the library and we were then told about a part of the prison that has marks on the floor from grenade blasts which were thrown in during an attempted escape, via a hole in the roof.

We saw the visitation station, followed by the officer area and then the officer’s control room.

The final area was the most dangerous – The dining hall. This was where everyone ate and therefore had cutlery. A lot of the kitchen equipment is still there, along with a board of the menu for breakfast.

The food was the best here out of all the prisons, so much so that the guards ate the same as the prisoners.

Former Inmate

There was a former inmate, now in his 80’s, who was signing books. He has written a book about being in Alcatraz. His name is William Baker.


Here Is A Link To William Baker’s Book

– Amazon


The Trip Back To San Francisco

We took the boat back and, by this time, having spent a while on the island, the weather had got more overcast, more windy, and much colder!

We got back to the city safe and sound and went for a coffee to warm up.

In And Out Burger

We had seen that In And Out burgers were meant to be great, so we lined up to get ours!

The menu hasn’t changed since 1948, so there weren’t many options, but we had to get the ‘double-double’ which was double beef and double cheese.


In And Out Burger History


The ingredients are fresh and made to order, so it’s fast food, but fresh!

The burgers and the fries were terrific. The fries don’t look great, but they were fresh and delicious!

Cable Car

We were well filled, so we left here and planned to head home, but then saw the old cable car and had to jump on! Our transport passes got us on, too, so that’s a win!

These cable cars were 146 years old and the only city to have them was San Francisco.

We eventually got a chance to ride it hanging off the edge, which was awesome!

New Shoes

We got off the cable car in the shopping district and got Curtis a cheap pair of shoes for summer.

Curtis’ current shoes have lasted well, but they’ve hit the end of their life, so new shoes it is for Curtis. He got some nice Levi’s shoes, weirdly. Just $20 though!

Rammed Tram

We took the tram home, but this was at around 19:00 so it was absolutely rammed for a while.

We got home and were incredibly tired…we have been on our feet for over 9 hours, so laying down and watching TV was great.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 73 – Day 5: Seattle,WA – Amazon Spheres, Tacos & Giant Water Tower

Visa

First thing’s first – something we forgot to mention yesterday – Curtis now also has his Canadian work visa, so we can confirm that we plan to work in Canada in the near future!

Now – onward to today;

Off Into The City

We took the bus to the city this morning, but only had a $5 note. Kim was given a ticket which still had time on it, so only Curtis needed a ticket.

Curtis put the $5 note in the machine, expecting change, but the driver informed him that change is not given on buses in Seattle! This didn’t really bother us too much, but now we know.

When we got off the bus, the driver called us over and gave us 2 tickets to be used any time up to 18:00 as he felt bad that we put too much money in. He didn’t have to do that, but it was incredibly kind that he did!

SIM Shopping

We need to get a US SIM as we will be in the country for a bit of time, so we walked around places trying to find one.

We had seen the perfect thing at the supermarket yesterday, but didn’t want to just take the first thing we saw, so decided to browse.

Whilst we looked, we found nothing better, so decided we’d head to the supermarket later and get the one we saw.

Victrola Coffee

We had seen a coffee shop named Victrola a few times and it was full each time, so it must have been good! We decided we would check it out.

The coffees were mostly one size, which wasn’t a great start for us, so much so that Curtis panicked a little and ordered the house coffee instead of espresso.

The house coffee wasn’t great, but Kim had a mocha which seemed to get better over time.

We found some of the staff a little standoff-ish too, which wasn’t pleasant.

Interestingly there was also an Amazon office within the same building as this coffee shop.


Victrola Coffee | Seattle,WA

Rating:- 5/10


Amazon Spheres

Kim’s surprise was planned to be a tour of the Amazon headquarters. Unfortunately, it’s a very full tour and is usually booked for months in advance, so Kim had put us both onto the waiting list.

We walked to the Amazon HQ and asked the question as to if we had been accepted or not.

Unfortunately, we were not accepted and it is still full, so we were unable to do the tour. That being said, we have signed up for Thursday’s waiting list, so fingers crossed!

Spheres

We were still able to go into the Amazon Spheres, which were built fairly recently primarily as an alternative workspace for Amazon employees, but also as a living plant biome.

We could only explore the bottom floor, which explains all about how it was built, why it was built, the challenges and the people within. It was pretty cool to see!

Tacos

We left here and walked about 25 minutes to get tacos! Our host told us last night about a great, cheap, taco place so we grabbed some as a snack.

We each got a house taco (pork, salsa & pineapple) and we shared a steak taco.

The pork were by far the best. absolutely delicious, and the steak was just ok.


Taco Chukis | Seattle,WA

Rating:- 7.5/10


Volunteer Park

We went for a walk around volunteer park, which is a large park of woodlands. There isn’t much there, but it was a nice walk to relax. We saw a lot of squirrels and some were daring enough to come close. Kim tried to hand one a pinecone and freaked out!

We walked around for a bit more and then stumbled across a giant former water tower.

Water Tower

This water tower is huge and is now an observation deck.

We were able to climb the stairs to the top and get a 360° view of the city (and all the rain clouds!).

Different Bus

We took a different bus home after stopping by at something we will be doing tomorrow to ensure we are booked in.

We walked to a bus stop and caught a different bus number so we could go a bit off course and get directly to the supermarket near our apartment, rather than having to walk from home.

We got the SIM and other things we needed from the store and walked back home.

Stir Fry

We got home and Kim whipped up a pork stir fry, which was incredible.

We ate a lot, but it was worth the fullness!

We watched some TV and then went to bed. Got to be up early tomorrow!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 71 – Day 2: Portland, OR – Nob Hill & Brewery Tour

Free Breakfast

We didn’t pay for free breakfast, but we got it! There was only cinnamon & raisin bagels left, but that was perfect for us! We smothered them in butter and Kim had an orange juice whilst Curtis had some of the ‘Portland hostel blend’ coffee.

We got ready and then went out to have a walk around. We walked to Nob hill which is a ‘hipster’area of Portland. This is the top place to visit on tripadvisor so we thought we should take a look.

There were a lot of quaint shops here and it felt like a really nice, chill, neighbourhood.

We were walked back down the road and saw a ramen place and instantly wanted you have a ramen.

We shared a ramen as we knew it would be too big, but we got the most traditional which was pork broth, pork belly, noodles and an egg.

We ate our pretty good ramen and followed it up with some joto nigori sake, which we thought had a flavour between whisky and white wine.


Boxer Ramen | Portland, OR

Rating:- 7.5/10


Washington Park

We left and walked to Washington Park, which includes a few gardens. As it is cold, there were no roses blooming and all the gardens were pretty dull, unfortunately, but the park was nice to walk though. There was also a holocaust memorial there.

Mochi Ice Cream

We went to the supermarket and had a look around. Kim then found some mochi ice cream to buy.

Kim ate these once we got back to the hostel and she wasn’t too enthralled.

Brewery Tour

We saw a sign at the hostel for a free brewery tour, up the road at Kells.

We met our group at the reception of our hostel and we all then walked to the pub.

Once we got to Kells, we were met by the head brewer who was very passionate.

We started by tasting their lager which, for a lager, was tasty!

We moved onto their stout which Curtis though was better than Guinness.

We walked around the brewery whist the head brewer told us about the process. We even ate malt directly from the bag!

We got to look inside the vats and ask as many questions as we wanted.

We tasted some lager from the tap and then we all sat around with the brewer and had a pint whilst chatting about everything and anything.

All Packaged In House And Distributed

A Lot Of Spirits

Kells Brewery | Portland, OR

TourRating:- 10/10


Dinner

We were suggested a placed called North 45 for dinner, so our whole group went for some food.

There was us, another person from the UK, 2 Americans, 1 Brazilian, 1 Australian & A Japanese man.

Kim ate steak and Curtis had a burger.

The food was pretty good, but nothing too special.


North 45 | Portland, OR

Rating:- 6/10


Hostel Chat

We stayed up for a bit when we got back to the hostel and chatted with everyone we had met today and then it was time for bed.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale